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Race Differences in Dementia: A Systematic Review

Richard Lynn and Helen Cheng


Published: 2023/03/01


Rushton (2000) proposed that a large array of race differences can best be explained in terms of r-K life history theory. In this framework, high “somatic effort” leading to longer life expectancy is one of the features of a K-selected (“slow”) life history whereas typical “r strategists” live fast and die young. Rushton’s application of life history theory to human races predicts that the prevalence of dementia in old age should be lowest in Mongoloids (Northeast Asians) followed by Caucasoids (Europeans), Negroids (sub-Saharan Africans) and highest in Australian Aborigines. In this review article, we examine whether the empirical evidence supports or refutes this prediction. The prediction is confirmed. Keywords: Dementia; Alzheimer disease; Cognitive impairment; Race; r-K life history strategy

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